Tag-an-Author Party: What I Write and Why

Cherie Colyer

Cherie Colyer, a prolific and talented writer, my pub sister, tagged me to answer the following four writerly questions. I truly admire Cherie http://cheriecolyer.blogspot.ca/. Quote from Amazon: “Cherie believes there’s a little magic in everyone. She also believes in following her dreams and never giving up. Her books are proof of that.”

Hold Tight and Embrace are part of her Embrace Series; plus Challenging Destiny. Her YA books are rated 4 – 5 on Amazon.com

And now please allow me to interview myself, Feather Stone. Feather Stone is my pen name. When my first novel was published, my husband was worried about the intrusion of the media and fans in our home. He suggested a fan name in order to maintain his quiet lifestyle. It was a bit humorous as having lived with me for many years, he should have gotten used to a continuous thread of excitement and challenges I create, er, cause. From snowmobiling races, a house full of dogs and cats, to dog show competitions, to digging up more lawn for flower beds, to my shift work as a paramedic = our life has never been dull. Just last week he had to drive almost four hours to rescue me. I had locked my car keys in the trunk. He had the only spare. He grumbles but I tell him that because of me he has to remain in shape and young at heart.

What am I working on? I am so excited about my second novel, a fiction murder / suspense. Just writing it has been a virtual thrill. The title is “Forbidden.” The setting is the Middle East wherein the main characters are a police captain and a visiting woman. Sound benign enough? Here’s the synopsis.

Within hours of arrival in the Middle East city of Samarra, Eliza Leigh MacKay and fifteen Americans are plunged into a desperate struggle for survival. Eliza, alone, survives the massacre. A cover-up ensues.

Police captain Hashim Sharif, a devout Muslim, is forced to become the keeper of the impetuous MacKay woman. When she escapes and is cornered by madmen, Sharif discovers she is no shrinking violet and awakens to his deep affection for her.

Sharif and Eliza are immersed into the shadowy world of espionage, corruption, murder, and kidnapping. From shabby back alleys, a crumbling mosque, mountain caves, to the splendor of the marble columns in the federal building, Captain Sharif hunts for the American’s killers.

As Captain Sharif’s investigation progresses, he and Eliza become the hunted. Compelled to trust each other, they hold back feelings they’ve considered forbidden. When Sharif discovers who was behind the massacre, it hits him with deadly force – as if shot by his own AK47.

Feather Stone takes you on a richly textured epic adventure through stunning landscape and into the minds of desperate men. A strong cast of characters will grab and hurl you into a plot full of treachery, and passion that refuses to be silenced.

This incredible story will be available in 2015.

How does my writing differ from others of its genre? There are not many novels in the mystery / suspense genre which combine the Islamic culture and romance. This story required volumes of research on the Islamic beliefs and culture. As I wanted to be accurate in the interpretation of the Quran and practices of Muslim people, I needed to consult with our local Imam and others. A woman who is a pediatrician and calls herself a modern muslim woman worked with me during the editing process. She is a gem, so professional and kind. My goal was to write an exciting story, full of passion and tension, and to ensure my approach to the Islamic faith is from a neutral point of view.

Then to include romance in this story challenged my writing skills. Romance is generally rigidly controlled in Middle Eastern Muslim communities. To remain true to the Islamic practices that are required between men and women, I needed to ensure that contact between Captain Sharif and Eliza remained very proper; and yet, indicate their passion for each other heating up between the lines (instead of between the sheets, LOL).

Why do I write what I do? Excellent question – and if anyone knows the answer, please let me know. It’s a mystery. But then, when I really scrutinize my past, I understand the answer. The mystery is more about why I suddenly became driven to write fifteen years ago.

It started innocently enough. Since my youth I’ve experienced the paranormal – time travel, out-of-body experiences, telepathy, and other psychic abilities. Usually these events are brief and unremarkable. However, one shook me to my core. I thought that if I wrote a few pages about it, the energy would dissipate. It didn’t. After about a hundred pages I woke up to the fact I was writing a novel, a story worth doing well. I pushed the keyboard aside and signed up for writing courses at our university.  Ten years later I finished the story that began with my spontaneous ‘travel’ to a ship. The Guardian’s Wildchild was published by Omnific Publishing September 2011.

The energy that started my writing career continues to inspire me, haunt me throughout every day, and take me to places I’ve never been before. What a  marvelous and magical ride!

How does my writing process work? I wish I was more disciplined and would sit down and write every day. However, due to my wide range of interests and friendships, my time is often pulled in many directions all at the same time. Sometimes I write all day long; other times I merely go back to a previous chapter and work on editing out the ‘was’ words – the bane of my writing experience. But whether I’m at the keyboard or not, I develop the plot and characters in my head constantly.

The story begins with vivid and intense images. Once I know the visual clip is not going to subside, I sit down and begin to write. Magic begins to weave a web – my prison. A disembodied narrator sits on my shoulder and dictates the scenes, dialogue, action; my work is to work on sentence structure, spelling and punctuation – thank heavens for my editors who were kindly precise, Leigh Carter and Sahar Albakkal. The rewrites are just as exciting. New plot twists surprise even me. Many times I’m not sure how the various plots are going to be resolved. As I write, I see the surprise endings.

During the writing of each chapter, I’m conscious of the need to maintain a rhythm of escalating suspense, then follow with a brief calmer period – let the reader catch his/her breath. Then punch the excitement up another notch. Another aspect of writing that is vital to me is to ensure the reader’s experience is more than visual. They must feel the characters breathing down their neck. When the last word is read, my hope is that the characters remain alive in the reader’s mind; even that the reader regrets there are no more pages to read.

Vote for this book's cover, please.

The Guardian’s Wildchild by Feather Stone

Now I get to tag four of my favorite authors to answer these same questions and give us insight into what they do and why they do it. Readers – these authors are incredible. I’m the most picky person in selecting my reading material. These authors will not disappoint you – ever!

S.I Bartlett: Romancing the Thrill Quill  http://romancethethrillquill.blogspot.ca/: co-author of “No Gentleman Is He”

Hannah Downing: https://www.facebook.com/Hannah81: Check out her many wonderful novels as: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4745653.Hannah_Downing

Fran Orenstein: http://www.franorenstein.weebly.com/: Fran’s wonderful novels can be found at: http://www.amazon.com/Fran-Orenstein/e/B004ILD540

Debra Anastasia: http://www.debraanastasia.com/ The Poughkeepsie Series http://www.amazon.com/Poughkeepsie-The-Series-Debra-Anastasia-ebook/dp/B006BHR94Q

Sorry, I just have to had one more. Amber Beldene. Because of the “Blood Vine Series” I fell in love with vampires, something I thought I could  never do. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6537150.Amber_Belldene

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